Finland: COVID-19 infection rate rising at alarming speed in all hospital districts — infection rate highest in Greater Helsinki area

NordenBladet — The COVID-19 situation has worsened almost throughout Finland but particularly in the Greater Helsinki area and the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa. New restrictions and recommendations have already been introduced and will be introduced not only in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa but also elsewhere in the country. However, in South Savo, for example, transmission chains have been kept well under control.

During the period of 16–22 November, the number of cases increased sharply, and new infections were reported in all hospital districts. The majority of new cases were reported in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa where the number of infections has been the highest since the epidemic started.The total number of new cases in the last two-week period (9–22 November) was 4,176, which was 1,315 cases more than in the preceding two-week period. The incidence of new cases was 75 per 100,000 inhabitants, while in the preceding two-week period it was 52. One fourth of those infected were in quarantine when they tested positive for COVID-19The majority of the new cases continue to be of domestic origin. Cases where the virus was contracted abroad accounted for about 3% of all new cases, although there was a lot of variation between hospital districts (ranging from 0% to 36%). Less than 1% of all cases were infections caught in Finland that came from people who had contracted the virus abroad. One fourth of all new cases were reported among people who were already in quarantine when they tested positive for COVID-19. In the previous week, such cases accounted for one third of all cases.

At present, the testing capacity of laboratories is about 26,000 samples per day. In addition, some regions have started using antigen tests. During the period of 16–22 November, around 7,000–18,000 samples were analysed daily. Of them, 2.6% were positive. This represents an increase of nearly one percentage point from the previous week.

Source of infection can be identified in about half of casesAt the national level, the source of infection was identified in about half of the cases as in the previous week. In the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, the source of infection was known in about one third of the cases.

Number of cases increasing among older age groups
The majority of all cases, that is about 75% of them, were reported among people under 50 years of age and some 40% among people under 30 years of age. Over the past few weeks, the number of infections has also increased among older age groups. People over 60 years of age now account for more than 12% of the cases, which is a few percentage points higher than a couple of weeks ago. What is worrying is that in the past few weeks the percentage of people over 70 years of age has risen by about three percentage points to approximately 6%. People over 70 years of age have an elevated risk of developing a more serious form of the COVID-19 disease so it is essential to protect them from contracting the virus.

More and more people requiring hospital care
The number of patients requiring hospital and intensive care has been increasing since October. On 25 November 2020, a total of 134 patients were receiving hospital care due to the COVID-10 disease, and 21 of them were in intensive care. It is estimated that about 16,800 people, which is over 70% of all confirmed cases, have recovered from the disease. The total number of confirmed cases in Finland now stands at 22,652. There have been 388 deaths related to the disease.

The monitoring report on the epidemic published today and the previous reports are available on the website of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare:Monitoring coronavirus (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare), in Finnish  COVID-19 epidemic: regional situations, recommendations and restrictions (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare)Coronavirus in numbers (Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa)Action plan for implementing recommendations and restrictive measures under the hybrid strategy following the first phase of the COVID-19 epidemic (Publications of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 2020:26), description sheet available in English.


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